Finding the right rain

rain fun

Unless lightning and thundering are shaking the rafters, I love the rain. Lately, I’ve had lots to love.
These days, when I’m dodging raindrops trying to remain as dry as possible as I run toward my car or a door, I often think about a night long ago when it was raining cats and dogs. It was the summer before my senior year in high school, and I was at cheerleader camp.
The rain that night was a real gully washer. Everyone started running for cover. However, at some point mid-run, I realized I was as soaked as I could ever get, why hurry further?
My friends were initially confused when I stopped running. Then I explained and it didn’t take much persuading for four of them to adopt my attitude. From that point, “Why not just play in the rain?” wasn’t far away.
At first, we began dancing under a streetlight in the middle of an empty parking lot. It was a closed campus. No cars would be heading our way. The parking lot was our paradise. We noticed the water formed rivulets coming from various directions rushing toward drains. We began to wonder if we could create a human dam to build a small pond. We used our bodies like building blocks and formed a variety of structures to temporarily hold the water back. The five of us lay head to toe across sections of the parking lot and created a shallow wade pool.
I remember being deliriously happy rolling around that empty parking lot in the rain. I remember how the hot asphalt smelled as the rain cooled it. I remember how the raindrops weren’t cold or hot that night. I remember the way I could see the rain falling where the bright streetlight was streaming. I remember the way the wet tasted like summer. And I remember the juxtaposition of the gritty asphalt compared to our slicky, wet bodies as we piled up to block the water.
If you’ve ever played in rainwater that way, you understand the fun we had. If you haven’t, the next time the right rain comes, find the right friends and give it a try.
That night was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. The rest of the people hurrying by, of course, looked at us like we were crazy. I doubt any of them remembers that night. But for those of us who spent about an hour dancing under a streetlight and stopping rushing water with our arms, legs and torsos, the night was enchanted — and we remember it well.
I recall my thinking as I made the decision that night to play in the rain. It’s only water. I bathe in it every day. I swim in it often. I drink it. I wash my clothes in it. If it’s not lightning, what harm can the rain really do? All I have to do when I get inside is towel off and change clothes. I can do that.
Sometimes these days, I stand at the edge of a storm, dreading to run out in the rain and those thoughts begin to trickle in. It’s only water…. Unfortunately, too often these days, I follow that thought with the long list of places I have to go and people I have to see. For whatever reasons, I don’t have time to get wet and change clothes.
But before this summer is done, I’m going to play in the rain.

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